CTIO  >  DECam & DES

Link to the National Optical Astronomy Observatory's web site

Dark Energy Camera (DECam)

& the Dark Energy Survey (DES)

Dark Energy Survey logo


The Dark Energy Camera (DECam)

Is a new high-performance CCD imager for the prime-focus of the Blanco telescope at CTIO.   It is being built as part of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Project by the DES Consortium, which is a Fermilab-led  international collaboration of over 120 scientists from 12 institutions in the USA, UK, Spain and Brazil.   DECam will be a facility instrument, available for all users from early 2012.   The DES Consortium, in exchange for the instrument and a community pipeline will receive 525 nights over 5 years to carry out the Dark Energy Survey.   The project is funded by the DOE and NSF, the funding agencies of the UK, Spain and Brazil, and contributions from the consortium institutions.

The DES Project is organized as three sub-projects -  The construction of DECam (lead institution is Fermilab), the DES Data Management System (lead institution is U. Illinois)and CTIO Facilities Improvement Project (CFIP, lead institution is CTIO).

Characteristics of DECam

  • New Prime Focus cage and optical corrector

  • Three square degree field, 0.27 arcsec/pixel

  • 62 2Kx4K LBNL red-sensitive CCDs,  (QE 60% at 0.4 mu, 90% at 0.9 mu).  Read time 17 seconds.

  • g,r,i,z,Y filters, plus some "community" filters

  • Community Pipeline will provide raw and processed (single and stacked frames, astrometric and rough photometric solutions)

  •   Data served from the NOAO Science Archive

The Dark Energy Survey (DES)

  • Next-generation imaging sky survey ("Super Sloan") aimed at understanding the acceleration of the universe

  • 525 nights 2011-2015 to cover 5000 sq-degrees of the South Galactic Cap in five filters

  • Survey area overlaps with the South Pole Telescope and the VHS Vista Survey

  • Measures the dark energy equation of state parameter with four complementary techniques:   galaxy cluster counts, weak lensing, angular power spectrum, type Ia supernovae

  • DES data will be public after 12 months (single processed frames)

  • High level data products (catalogs, etc) available at mid-survey and after the end of the survey

  • Will enable a great deal of other science for the community, as did SDSS.

  • See http://www.darkenergysurvey.org

  • See the short presentation by DES Director Josh Frieman at the January 2011 AAS Meeting

The CTIO Facilities Improvements Project

  • New Telescope Control System for the Blanco Telescope
  • .
  • Repaired & Improved Blanco primary Mirror Support System
  • .
  • New Cleanroom in the Blanco dome accommodate DECam and NEWFIRM.

  • See an update.

Contact people at CTIO

DECam Deputy Project Manager, CFIP Manager:  Tim Abbott

DECam Instrument Scientist:  Alistair Walker

DES Consortium Members:   Chris Smith, Tim Abbott, Alistair Walker


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